Phishing and vishing are two common ways for fraudsters to try to trick victims into sharing their personal information. Phishing uses fraudulent emails that look like they come from a legitimate company, while vishing is the telephone version of phishing.
In both types of fraud, a variety of tricks are used to get you to share your personal and financial information, including time-limited offers, scary messages about your accounts being shut down, or links to a legitimate looking website set up to steal your information.
In phishing emails, victims are asked to click on a link that brings them to a fake website or to verify personal information (such as a credit card number or passwords) whether online, in an email reply or by calling the contact information in the fake email.
Fraudulent emails may also carry a hidden software program, called "malware" or a virus, which downloads to your computer, records every key you press and transfers that information to fraudsters, who can use it to steal your personal information or access your financial accounts.
In vishing, targeted victims receive a telephone call or voicemail asking them to provide or confirm personal information. This information is used by fraudsters to steal their victim's identity or access their financial accounts.
If you think you are a victim of fraud, take the following steps:
To learn more about how email fraud and telephone fraud happen, how to protect yourself and what to do if you become a victim, read the tip sheet "Protecting Yourself from E-Mail and Telephone Fraud."
Learn how to prevent different types of fraud, and what to do if you become a victim.